Surfing etiquette

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Elvis
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Surfing etiquette

Post by Elvis » Mon Dec 05, 2005 7:22 pm

What is proper surfing etiquette with boarders and other boaters?

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Post by Mark R » Mon Dec 05, 2005 7:24 pm

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Post by shore-thing » Mon Dec 05, 2005 9:08 pm

It doesn't matter what you ride, it's how you ride. All surfers should be using the same etiquette and treating each other as equals.

Try this for starters

http://www.bcusurf.org.uk/etiquette.htm

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Post by Bertie.. » Tue Dec 06, 2005 9:13 am

it's also worth remembering that if a surfer drops in on another surfer, then he is just considered a tw*t. If a kayaker drops in on a surfer then all kayakers are labelled tw*ts.

There's a lot to be said for earning a welcome, learning to properly surf a kayak rather than just thinking surf is just somewhere else for practicing playboating stuff, and for being courteous.

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Re: Surfing etiquette

Post by steddyjames » Tue Dec 06, 2005 9:15 am

Elvis wrote:What is proper surfing etiquette with boarders and other boaters?
Etiquette is the same whatever you surf.

Just respect others and enjoy. Don't drop in, don't push in front in the line up and don't paddle out over the shoulder when someone is getting a ride.

When taking off on a wave look both ways to make sure there isn't someone else already up and on the shoulder. If you're closest the shoulder then others should give way to you.

Just nod and say hello when out back, makes for a much friendlier atmosphere.

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Post by steddyjames » Tue Dec 06, 2005 9:22 am

Bertie.. wrote:it's also worth remembering that if a surfer drops in on another surfer, then he is just considered a tw*t. If a kayaker drops in on a surfer then all kayakers are labelled tw*ts.
I don't think that's a fair comment.

Yes you get narcy surfers, but you also get narcy kayakers. I think you could give surfers a bit more credit as most of them are just out for the craic and not to get stressed with other water users!!!

There are also a fair few surfers who kayak so they do understand kayaking.

SJ

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Post by Bertie.. » Tue Dec 06, 2005 9:26 am

steddyjames wrote:
There are also a fair few surfers who kayak so they do understand kayaking.

SJ
Fair point, I do surf boats, skis & boards and I don't think all kayakers are tw*ts...

But I do think there is a stereotypical view of kayakers in surf that is portrayed/beleived by a subset of surfers. Shore-thing and I were involved in discussions with some of them online after a particularly interesting day at Bantham, where all the sterotypes were brought out and displayed to us...

equally, there are enlightened surfers and kayakers ...

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Post by steddyjames » Tue Dec 06, 2005 9:36 am

Bertie.. wrote:
steddyjames wrote:
There are also a fair few surfers who kayak so they do understand kayaking.

SJ
Fair point, I do surf boats, skis & boards and I don't think all kayakers are tw*ts...

But I do think there is a stereotypical view of kayakers in surf that is portrayed/beleived by a subset of surfers. Shore-thing and I were involved in discussions with some of them online after a particularly interesting day at Bantham, where all the sterotypes were brought out and displayed to us...

equally, there are enlightened surfers and kayakers ...
True, there is a stereotypical view of kayakers, but you are also showing a stereotypical view of surfers which will be believed by a sub-set of kayakers so it is going both ways, and neither are neccessarily true.

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Post by Bertie.. » Tue Dec 06, 2005 10:05 am

'check mate'

Stereotypes do exist, whether we believe they're true or not, and unless we work to break the vicious circles that form we don't get anywhere in overcoming them.

When I coach surf kayaking, I invite board-surfers along to talk about their experiences with kayakers, and to talk about the need for all surfers to understand surf etiquette. I also adopt a holistic view that it's all about the surfing, not the craft, hence I've taken my boards along on some surf kayaking coaching sessions. I try to integrate new surf kayakers into the surfing community.

As for integrating with the boardies, I married a kayak-hating, boardie who used to bodyboard - I guess I must think there's some okay boardies ;-)

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Post by fruitcake » Tue Dec 06, 2005 10:47 am

sorry steddy - i agree with Bertie - kayakers (goatboaters, surferswheelchairs etc) are not generally welcomed by board/sponge surfers. Think about how vulnerable they must feel esp if there 2.7m of plastic heading sideways towards them at speed.

Of course this is definately an 'in general' perspective - there are a few boardies out there who kayaksurf/ have mates who do etc and who trust their mates in the water and vice versa.

It is our responsibility to work at improving relations and improving our etiquettte and i think that elvis should be commended for asking!

ps i attempt both (not at the same time lol) and am fed up defending surf kayaking to boardies and i agree - it takes one kayaker (never mind several) bongosliding their plastic river boat out of control for the majority of the boarding community to tar everyone with the same brush.

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Post by steddyjames » Tue Dec 06, 2005 11:03 am

fruitcake wrote:sorry steddy - I agree with Bertie - kayakers (goatboaters, surferswheelchairs etc) are not generally welcomed by board/sponge surfers. Think about how vulnerable they must feel esp if there 2.7m of plastic heading sideways towards them at speed.

Of course this is definately an 'in general' perspective - there are a few boardies out there who kayaksurf/ have mates who do etc and who trust their mates in the water and vice versa.

It is our responsibility to work at improving relations and improving our etiquettte and I think that elvis should be commended for asking!

ps I attempt both (not at the same time lol) and am fed up defending surf kayaking to boardies and I agree - it takes one kayaker (never mind several) bongosliding their plastic river boat out of control for the majority of the boarding community to tar everyone with the same brush.
I'm not knocking Elvis for asking, I just wanted to point out from Berties comment that the stereotypes go both ways.

I was at a board surfing coaching course not so long back and there was a lot of animosity towards kayakers. I stick up for kayakers as well because I think both sides make incorrect asssumptions. Especially at coaching courses when the coach shouldn't expose their own animosity!!!

I will always politely point out the etiquette to anyone who is dangerous on the surf, be it a kayaker, boardie or seal-biscuit (bodyboarder!!).

On the surf I am a boardie, but I've been kayaking for the last 10years as well. This has made me very open minded to all water users and I don't like any of them being knocked just because of what they chose to surf.

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Post by Jim » Tue Dec 06, 2005 1:18 pm

I used to work with a boardie/waveskier who had come from a kayaking background and had no problem with kayaks on rivers or playing polo, but felt they had no place in the surf. Obviously most of his mates followed his beleifs but when it came to the crunch and I had actually got hassle at a local spot he agreed that it had been the boardie who was wrong not me! So yes stereotypes do go both ways and most people are actually fairly reasonable if you follow etiquette (I presume the link given earlier says all that needs saying in that respect).

Even in the UK I hear boardies refer bodyboarders as 'sharkbait', even though we don't have shark attacks! Not all of them do it obviously, but there is a kind of pecking order and a need to prove your competence fairly quickly in whatever surf sport you do since anyone out of control can be a danger or get into danger.

The one have yet to find out about is how kitesurfers are received at board/kayak spots. At the moment I'm only visiting fairly flat water spots that aren't worth surfing but are good for windsurfing and kitesurfing. The windsurfers and kitesurfers are getting the hang of each other and we are learning to fit in with their wavesailing rules, but when it comes to the crunch and I hit a decent break with perfect wind I wonder just how easy it is going to be to follow the rules, and if other surf users will have any idea of our issues when getting out back and stuff. Wavesailing has the extra rule that the guy upwind has right of way - usually this will be the guy nearest the shoulder, but not necessarily so!

JIM

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Post by Bertie.. » Tue Dec 06, 2005 1:33 pm

Jim wrote:
The one have yet to find out about is how kitesurfers are received at board/kayak spots. At the moment I'm only visiting fairly flat water spots that aren't worth surfing but are good for windsurfing and kitesurfing. The windsurfers and kitesurfers are getting the hang of each other and we are learning to fit in with their wavesailing rules, but when it comes to the crunch and I hit a decent break with perfect wind I wonder just how easy it is going to be to follow the rules, and if other surf users will have any idea of our issues when getting out back and stuff. Wavesailing has the extra rule that the guy upwind has right of way - usually this will be the guy nearest the shoulder, but not necessarily so!

JIM
A few of our local breaks attract kitesurfers and windsurfers often at the same time as the boardies, bodyboarders, surf kayakers, playboaters all arrive.

This does cause problems, particularly when kite/wind surfers are principally using the waves as ramps to get airborne. It's a bit disturbing when a wind/kite surfer uses the wave in front of you to get air, then pulls some trick over your head.

I don't mind them so much, it's when the guys in the ribs/jetbikes arrive that really worries me!

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Post by Steve B » Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:11 pm

One extra tip. On beaches with long breaks and shoulders which appear and disappear all over the place - like Saunton and Woolacombe - it can be difficult to avoid getting in each other's way at times. In this situation the kayak should always give way. The reason is simple - kayaks can catch waves that boards can't, so we won't have as long to wait for the next wave.
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Post by steddyjames » Tue Dec 06, 2005 2:49 pm

Bertie.. wrote:
I don't mind them so much, it's when the guys in the ribs/jetbikes arrive that really worries me!
I'm open minded when it comes to most water users, but when it comes to jet skies I have absolutely no tolerance. I used to surf up at Tynemouth and Blyth a lot where you seem to get a lot of jet skiers, jeez they were dangerous......at least most kayakers and boardies want to stick to the etiquette....but jet skiers.......

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Surf toys

Post by AlexN » Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:04 pm

I think its worth differentiating between different board surfers. The competent, or depending on conditions, hardcore boardies are out back. They generally behave reasonably and obey surf etiquette. Since surfing has become more and more popular the waist deep water often just insde the main break has become packed with non-competents clutching surf toys (almost a quote from Bill Mattos' surf book). I think these are often more of a hazard and annoyance to anyone outback than kayakers per se because they are often in the zone where your ride goes. This puts them in the way and 'boardies' in this zone often do not respect the rules. It seems to me that this is often reflected in the response of the outback boardies to kayakers who, it seems to me, accept you far better if you are fitting in with what they do. I fully admit that I don't go out back when it gets too big or closing out and so I play in the soup, but I keep out of people's way then. From a kayak point of view I think that it is the inside crowds of 'boardies' that are the problem. On the other hand, kayakers do not do themselves any favours by turning up in large groups and whooping.

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Post by Jim » Tue Dec 06, 2005 10:54 pm

Bertie.. wrote:This does cause problems, particularly when kite/wind surfers are principally using the waves as ramps to get airborne. It's a bit disturbing when a wind/kite surfer uses the wave in front of you to get air, then pulls some trick over your head.
Well they are supposed to look ahead, behind and downwind before any jump so are probably in the wrong if they are ramping off waves on purpose, on the other hand when heading out well powered (the only way if you want to hold position agaisnt the wind whilst tackling waves) there is a tendancy to float off the backs even if you didn't intend to and objects low in the water (boardsurfers, windsurfers with sail down, kitesurfers with kite down) do sneak up on you much faster than in other surf craft! Also if a wave has already broken the only sensible way over is to olly or manual just before it reaches you and jump over it - in both of these scenarios the object is to get the edge back in the water and holding you upwind ASAP so if they are jumping over peoples heads, they are probably just disregarding the wave sailing rules, and even normal kitesurf rules (always look before gybing or jumping).

There aren't enough of us to call it busy up here, but I have had sessions where I've gybed and just missed windsurfers - mainly they were wiped out and laying flat when I looked around and waterstarted whilst I was turning, other times I've gybed in a hurry and forgotten to look, or I've just screwed up and converted to a gybe to try and stay up, or even looked and thought the guy was far enough away without accounting for how fast and silent them things are! - so it does take a lot of concentration, but since every jump (other than accidental ramps off waves) needs thinking about and planning there is no excuse for forgetting to look before jumping!

I have once got into a nice near head height wave on my kiteboard and got a lovely ride, luckily there were only 2 of us out, myself and a mate from work windsurfing and I was well away from him when I picked it up - I've found similar sized waves since but not with the right wind direction to make it very feasible without cutting accross all the traffic beating out!

JIM

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Post by Andy Moffatt » Wed Dec 07, 2005 4:35 pm

What really gets me in the surf is the surf school. This summer whilst i was in Cornwall on holiday i relised how annoying they can be.
Having just caught a wave i soon relised that there was a large surf schoo, group infront of me and none of them had any sense to see that i had already caught the wave and that they should move, however this isnt what really got me annoyed as after all they are beginners, but what annoyed me was that even the instucters didnt bother getting out of the way. I mean they should know better and i feel that its people like these who give kayakers a bad name.

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Post by geordie01 » Wed Dec 07, 2005 9:47 pm

I'm open minded when it comes to most water users, but when it comes to jet skies I have absolutely no tolerance. I used to surf up at Tynemouth and Blyth a lot where you seem to get a lot of jet skiers, jeez they were dangerous......at least most kayakers and boardies want to stick to the etiquette....but jet skiers.......
I live in blyth and it is only a matter of time before some one is seriously injured or killed by the antics of the jet skiers.

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Post by steddyjames » Thu Dec 08, 2005 8:22 am

[quote="Andy Moffatt"]
Having just caught a wave I soon relised that there was a large surf schoo, group infront of me and none of them had any sense to see that I had already caught the wave and that they should move,quote]

Hmmmmm, not sure you were actually in the right as far as etiquette is concerned.

Yes, the person on the shoulder has right of way to other people taking off. And anyone paddling out should either go through the broken wave or make sure they are far enough away from the shoulder if going over the green.

However, if there is someone in the water who can't get out of the way, ie big groups of beginners, then it is the responsibility of the person on the wave to avoid other people in the water because they are more manouverable.

If an accident happens with someone on a wave and someone in the water in front of the wave then it is deemed to be the person surfing who is at fault.

SJ

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Post by shore-thing » Thu Dec 08, 2005 9:26 am

The competent, or depending on conditions, hardcore boardies are out back. They generally behave reasonably and obey surf etiquette. Since surfing has become more and more popular the waist deep water often just insde the main break has become packed with non-competents clutching surf toys (almost a quote from Bill Mattos' surf book). I think these are often more of a hazard and annoyance to anyone outback than kayakers per se because they are often in the zone where your ride goes.
I agree. I think you can never assume that just because the surfer next to you has a board they know and apply the correct surf etiquette. If in any doubt it's easier to give way or drop off the wave yourself. That way you stay safe and help the reputation of kayak surfers. There's always another wave and it's much easier to catch it in a kayak. If other surfers (or surf schools) become too annoying then try a quite, friendly word or move to a break with more space.

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Post by StoneWeasel » Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:42 pm

I was always tought that if you are on the wave you only have priority over other people trying to use that wave (assuming it's your wave and you have not dropped in or snaked onto it) people in the water or paddling out have right of way over you.
In a competition however this changes and you take right of way over those paddling out (only really counts with other paddlers in the comp but all non competitors can generally be persuaded to stay out of the competition area).

Denzil

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Post by Bertie.. » Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:50 pm

I will always try to avoid getting in the way of someone surfing a wave, when I'm paddling out - even to the extent of committing myself to a hard punch through/over white water. I figure the guy will have waited around for a wave lasting a few seconds, and I don't want to spoil it for him.

This approach does also earn a welcome, and it lets other surfers know that you understand the rules of the road..

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Post by steddyjames » Thu Dec 08, 2005 2:01 pm

When paddling out you should try to avoid paddling through the shoulder if there are people on it...always head for the soup.

However, if a collision is likely and the person paddling out can't get out of the way then the person on the wave should bail to avoid them.

So yes, the person on the wave doesn't have right of way over people in front of them.

When taking off on a wave it is the person taking off's responsibility to make sure they aren't going to plough through a load of people in front of them.

It's all just common sense, respect others and if in doubt just wait for the next wave. You'll never wait that long in a kayak.

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Post by StoneWeasel » Thu Dec 08, 2005 2:17 pm

When paddling out you should try to avoid paddling through the shoulder if there are people on it...always head for the soup.

However, if a collision is likely and the person paddling out can't get out of the way then the person on the wave should bail to avoid them.
Explained far better than I managed but this is how it should be.

In a kayak we also have a speed advantage over most things found in the surf so do use this to avoid people whenever possable but do not use this to annoy surfers.
How do you use it to annoy surfers you ask?
You sit a little further out back than them and start catching waves long before a boardie could pick it up. I have seen this happening several times once with a group of about five paddlers, this meant there were very few waves left for the boardies and none of the best waves. This upset them rather and on the day with the group paddlers all doing this led to massive ammounts of dropping in and a little anti kayaker violence in the car park (i learnt of this a few days after the event).

So play nice,
Denzil

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Post by steddyjames » Thu Dec 08, 2005 2:39 pm

StoneWeasel wrote:

You sit a little further out back than them and start catching waves long before a boardie could pick it up. I have seen this happening several times once with a group of about five paddlers, this meant there were very few waves left for the boardies and none of the best waves.
This is also when the line-up etiquette comes into play which is overlooked by the majority of kayakers.

You basically queue up for the wave. If you are sitting further out back you should let the people inside catch a wave if it is their turn. When it comes round to being your turn you have every right to catch the wave no matter how far back you catch it.

In other words don't catch every wave that comes your way. If there is someone inside who has been sitting their longer than you let them have it.

If you push to the front of the cue for every wave then other surfers are gonna get narced.

This really only works on reef breaks or defined peaks and isn't really that workable on a beach break.

As Stone Weazel says..play nice... cos then we can all get along and have a good craic.

SJ

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Gain respect

Post by Underwater Squirt Dawg » Tue Dec 13, 2005 12:24 pm

I surf using a surf kayak and or a ski. I also go kayaking in the surf in a playboat. In my surf kayak or on my ski boardies will talk to me in the line up. We all want the good bit of the wave and respect the rules for using it. In a playboat we don't use or need the same peice of wave to have fun - so we should be well away from the line up or bit of beach that has boardie lessons and swimmers. It's like going to a skate park in a car - it don't fit and shouldn't be there! Go to the part of the beach where surfers aren't about - or buy a surf craft. Both will gain you respect.

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Post by Chris C » Wed Dec 14, 2005 4:19 pm

The main problem ive encountered is not from people who can surf whatever its the lil Tw&ts who think they can and have more authority to be there so decide to drop in on everyone creating a bad atmosphere and makin everyone pissed off with them! It ended up with me asking him to stop dropping in on me as did some boardies aswell! He kept dropping in swearing at every one so i aimed my surf boat straight at him he soon got the idea and left! Everyone was much happier n a mellow atmosphere was regained!

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Post by Mark R » Wed Dec 14, 2005 4:46 pm

Interesting approach, Chris. I imagine that whatever his problem with kayakers was, he realised the error of his attitude and decided henceforth to share the surf graciously, after you'd disemboweled him.
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Post by Chris C » Wed Dec 14, 2005 6:07 pm

No just aimed towards him and kept getting closer! he soon got the idea that i was aiming for him not just surfing!

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